This is Tombstone, Arizona in a nutshell.
Johnny Bones - our favorite street performer!
You will see folks in garb everywhere from prospectors to prostitutes, turn of the century bible ladies to rangers.
There's also a lot of shops with costumes for sale and tons and tons of cowboy garb from hats to boots, shirts and holsters.
They keep the main drag empty and dirty so they can ride the horses and stagecoaches and have spontaneous gunfights.
There are tons of attractions to be had, from a mine tour to gunfight shows to the world's largest rose bush museum to a paranormal disney-like museum with lots of cowboy action.
You can watch the recreation at OK Corral or put on a period costume and pose for an old-time photo.
There's stagecoach tours and haunted locations, and lots of places for ice cream and whiskey - they know their priorities!
Don't forget to visit the famous Boot Hill Cemetery with all the outlaws graves.
Don't miss touring the courthouse and hanging area outside. It has a wonderful enchanting museum that will have you studying displays for hours.
The food is rather lackluster in Tombstone, I will readily admit. We ate at the Depot Steakhouse and it was abysmal service and no seasoning and the worst salsa (how can you screw up salsa?) The chimichanga I ordered had no salt, pepper, heat, or any seasoning at all. I had to dowse it in the horrible salsa to choke it down.
But, the one place in the heart of downtown that offers amazingly warm and wonderful service and loads of variety is Longhorn Restaurant and you can have breakfast, lunch or dinner there. It was exceptional food and service, a real dream.
The Crystal Palace and Big-Nosed Kate's are two of the favorite joints with honky tonk live music, bar food, and booze.
There are no fast food places there to be seen. There are Circle K's where you can get some supplies.
Avoid the Italian-Mexican restaurant (who would ever pair the two?) It's awful.
The OK Cafe right near the Corral is a good place for a sandwich.
As far as accommodations, there are lots of motels, but be warned that they can be noisy and rather basic. Motorcycle groups enjoy visiting the town and weekends can get rowdy, so it may be noisy. Just be sure to turn on the fan loudly on the AC unit or bring ear plugs.
You can walk everywhere there, so follow the public parking signs and enjoy going up and down the downtown area with incredible shops, amazing costumed actors milling about, street musicians, lots of dog walking, horses, and carriages. It's dusty, so I recommend you use some nasal saline spray at night to wash out your sinuses and, if you leave there with a fever and cough, you could have valley fever, so see a doctor. Coccidioidomycosis is an ailment that comes from a fungus found in the soil. Newcomers sometimes get it and it's a lot like mononucleosis, but with a cough. It can disseminate to organs too, so if you get a cough after leaving there, consider seeing your doctor for a cocci skin test.
Yeah, the desert is lovely, but also dangerous.
Other side treks - Bisbee is a copper town about 30 miles away from Tombstone and it's super awesome to visit with tons of yuppie fun shops with arts and gourmet treats and cool side treks like the street in Lowell that is a recreation of the 1950s with cars, signs and shops, mining tours, and the Shady Dell motel that rents out mid century trailers, yacht and more to sleep in.
Another great place I wrote about yesterday is the Monastery in St. David. Just a few miles before Tombstone is a turnoff for the ghost town of Fairbank that is kept intact with a little schoolhouse museum.
And, if you are like me and must see the "Thing" that is touted on the billboards driving around the area, take the extra 25 miles out of Tucson along the I-10 to Texas Canyon area (great area with boulders for photo shoots - we always recreate "Tremors" there) and Dragoon Arizona where they have the gift shop that houses the "Thing." It's as campy and fun and awesome as it sounds!